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How is it possible that the most valuable resource a child brings to formal schooling, language, can be constantly recast as a problem?
This is the simple question Carolyn McKinley asks in her highly topical book, Language and Power in Post-Colonial Schooling: Ideologies in Practice. But it is simultaneously a key question that should hit the South African education system like an earthquake.
Because we indeed have to do with poet Van Wyk Louw’s famous little chisel: tap it, and it taps the country’s dark seam that must rupture and eventually "rip right through the stars".
It is this earthquake, the disruption of a mighty, restrictive language ideology that SA’s education system needs.
Increasing anglicisation is the great concern in the analysis by McKinley, associate professor in the education department of the University of Cape Town. For this, she has created the term anglonormativity: the reinforcement of English as normative, with resulting supremacy in education.
She is highl...
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